Sunday, December 31, 2006

Should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I go? (asked by The Clash and now me)
I nixed the ceili and the local party. Asking a friend if she was up for doing something this long weekend, she invited me to join her tonight. Hmmm. She's at the first party now, but I'm on for the later one. R may be there, she says. R is a guy I met last Spring, mentioned in one of my first entries. I actually asked him if he was up for a short hike Monday or Tuesday. Then I got his vacation message and felt like a heel. Likely easier on me if he's NOT there.

Frankly, curling up with some 4-legged crits sounds pretty cozy right now. Besides, what would I wear? Oh, wait, Beth sent me a fantastic classic velvet top a few years back, back when M was always with me for New Year's Eve and we'd go to a First Night, and/or celebrate ourselves with sparkling cider and finger foods. But, what pants or skirt? I wish this was a "jeans" party night. I should make myself go, down some sudafed and ibuprofen for my ear that still feels underwater.

Get that funk out:) Yesterday, a friend of mine from my single mother's loop "returned," having been in a funk. Yeah, I know how that can be. I woke up feeling good, physically, mentally. Daisy and I slept in. I'd gotten to chat with M Friday night, sad she was going to miss the feis (Si was going but not M somehow), but happy she'll see her cousins, and me, ready to tackle the day.
I thought of the late President Ford. Dad asked if I was watching all of it. No, that'd mean having the televi
sion on. Did he pause by the WWII memorial, Dad? I'd read he was going to do that. I hardly remember him as President as I was rather unawares of the greater political world at that time. I liked him, though, his style, the honest demeanor "safe" bit and all.

I kept hearing in my head, "Play that funky music, white boy." Not by James Brown (but Wild Cherry?). I should be singing James Brown. I'd been to his show once, early 80's, at the Capital Centre. A new transfer to our fraternity (sorority) from another college, had tickets. I was the barely closest to cool she knew, so she asked me. That was memorable.
Fun music, and everyone walking all around, a casual general admission. Black guys kept wanting to hold our hands and walk around with us. It was finally easier to give in then keep saying no, and they were alright guys. In my philosophy discussion group the next morning, I asked if it was because she and I were white? I got two immediate, and opposite, responses. lol
May they both rest in peace, funky peace or otherwise.

And Saddam Hussein? I don't typically believe in the death penalty. I couldn't kill another human being.  I save worms I see on the sidewalk, moving them onto the grass if the days sun will heat and dry them out. One Christian woman I know claims he's not truly human. Hmm.  He's done such horribly ghastly nausea-producing things, I can see how she'd think that.  (Even while another day she says that a cruel horrific abuser of his now-ex-wife should receive compassion.)   I know I've sinned, broken a commandment or two or, um, let's not count, please. I'm not proud of that, just saying. When do the sins build up to being so bad, so absolutely utterly horrific, that the person should be condemned to death? God knows. I am not God. Saddam Hussein claimed he was a matyr for God now, I think I heard?

Politically, I'm not clear if him being killed is a good thing or not, either, or if him languishing in prison/jail, would have been more cruel in some ways. I AM, however, very glad that his reign of terror is over. All I hear of him is horrific. Peace would be grand, if that's possible.

And I think of what's in store this new year, the first day. I like going hiking, seeing the sun come up, the dawning of a new year. That's really unlikely this year. Taking Daisy to one of my favorite spots for a run / sniff / hike fest is likely. I wouldn't work on New Years Day when I worked at Woodies (Woodward and Lothrop). I won't visit stores tomorrow.

I took Dad his wreaths today. Yes, late for us American's, I suppose, still in time for Epiphany:) A childhood friend lives in Spain now. She visited over Christmas, with her young daughter. The girl will spend a grand festive Epiphany with her father. It's big in Spain. I'd think presents would be the big event on Epiphany, frankly, not on the day we celebrate Christmas. It makes more sense to me.

Besides, I just finished making those wreaths today, hardly visible under the screens but they are there. The tops of them are silhouetted after dark. I stayed late there. Here we go again -- the leak's back with a vengeance, filling up the bucket and pots much more quickly. I was just there a week ago and the kitchen floor was flooded today. While Dad had me address envelopes for his last two Christmas cards (see, it's not too late yet, still holiday time!), I could hear the dripping.   New supplies and hours later, I had it all up. He likes the cheese / sausage / cracker packages I got at clearance at Target I added to his Christmas gifts. He'd changed his shirt on his own into one of the ones from Beth, mentioning another was upstairs. He's been calling me daily about various things.

We talked some of the Christmas special shown on television, and a parade. He felt it must be the Rose Bowl parade, held in the town his brother had lived in for years. I'm thinking that's on New Years DAY, but have no idea what parade is on today.

I think of going downtown, visiting the capitol rotunda and paying my respects. I don't know how to "mourn" the late President. It's a national Federal holiday, and many other employers follow suit. What do the people in other states do? I suppose I was the one to get our "flag" people at work to finally lower our flag. Two days later, and, lol, at a well-intentioned one-third mast instead of half which I won't complain about. (And, had them retire the faded, twice ripped flag they had flying, even in the night without illumination. Not only is the entire parking lot lit up again, sometimes with security guards, but the flag has it's own special light now. Guess that's something.)
I like to think I remember my Spanish, and yet I wasn't able to communicate clearly with one of the cleaning women at work, to let her know the office is closed Tuesday, will her employer let her off, perhaps.
Tink just buried her head into the clean laundry. Her white fur on M's black t-shirt. I gave Daisy one of her Christmas toys we played with for about 5 minutes worth, now content to just be. Then tried a half attempt to go outside, rechase that grey and white rabbit? Liberty/Libby was snuggled on my lap.

Earlier today, my neighbor who always holds a New Years Eve party jogged by and we said hellos. This is the year I'm pretty certain they finally separated. No invitation this year. I need to contact her.

Get out the funk. :)
I had my spirits up Friday, and visited a local large bookstore. Yeah okay, so that was an outing! Olive the Other Reindeer, hardcover, but there. M and I used to read it or other Christmas books every night leading up to Christmas. A couple years ago, condensation lines from above came through, ruining some of the books. She'll love this:) I didn't even know it was on clearance, wrapped it in free wrapping but left the donation. "I feel good......"

I'd be up for a fun-dancing, casual party tonight. If I can remotivate myself. How many more hours until midnight?
Get out the funk, all. Enjoy. Happy new year and all that soul. Yawn. Dag. Maybe another shower will do the trick. :)

Lights inside here, lights outside at the neighbors. It used to always snow on New Years Eve when I was at University of Maryland. The fog arrived late today (after Dan had to mention fog eh?!) and some drizzle. It's just too warm is all.
Sparkling cider anyone? I had my Samuel Adams Winter Ale last night.
I almost forgot. "I now pronounce you (interruption) coo-coo, coo-coo." My late grandmother and late grandfather got married on New Years Eve probably about 80 years ago. I lovedhearing her tell that story over and over:) Love ya, Gram. You're back with your eternal New Years Eve date now!   Who, as it so happened, left this earth himself on New Years Eve 1976.   Rest in peace, Grandad.   Now your wife is there with you, also.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I'm actually not big on surveys

But, as Amy said I'd respond!    Yup its another survey   I responded to this survey earlier this week back to MikeV.  These were my quick I don't REALLY want another survey answers.   Feel free to respond to any of the questions yourself, or to those from the "different" survey December 27, leaving me a link so I can see your responses, please.  Or not:)  Or, make up your own questions.  Maybe in the New Year, there will  be no surveys:)  These can start sounding like a dating site (blech), and it's not even a Census year.  

1. occupation (I won't post publically)
2. What color are your socks right now? assuming I'm wearing some.  But, I am.  Grey.
3. What are you listening to right now? white noise, should turn on radio@aol I suppose  (they actually have good Celtic and Indie stations!!
4. What was the last thing that you ate? cranberry walnut bagel
5. Can you drive a stick shift?  yes
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? feeling magenta right now, otherwise, either deep green, or spring green
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? my father (and, today Friday, answering machines while TRYING to reach M ugh, will she or will she not feis tomorrow???)
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? yes
9. Favorite drink: a GOOD chai tea latte right now, or a gin and tonic with lime, lol.  I could use one.
10. What is your favorite sport to watch? ice / figure skating or ice hockey
11. Have you ever dyed your hair?  no
12. Favorite curse word?  frig
13. Any Pets? lol, a zoo (five beautiful all white cats, and a loving beagle)
14. Favorite food?  I don't feel like I could eat anything right now, stomach distress; make me a nice dinner or ice cream, I may reconsider:)   Or Aimer / Sheria's sweet potatoe pie is sounding really good about now!  She sent me the recipe so I can drool now, I mean, make it.   Merry Christmas to All!
15. What was the last movie you watched?  Charlotte's Web:)  In the theatre, with M, earlier today. 
16.favorite day of the year? Christmas Eve maybe?  it has some bias at the moment ; we had a great time
17. What do you do to vent anger?  write it out, talk with friends, and/or pray
18. What was your favorite toy as a child?  Duncan teddy bear, Raggedy Ann and other dolls / stuffed animals, a green truck, paints
19. What is your favorite Fall or Spring? Fall
20. Cherry or Blueberry? blueberry:)
24. Living arrangements? M and me (and our crits)
25. When was the last time you cried? Okay, I'll sound like a wimp - today watching that daggone movie with M:) also knowing she was about to leave with her dad and her leaning on me and that story is sappy as hell
26. What is on the floorof your closet? carpet.  ;)  
27. Who is the friend that you've have had the longest that you are sending this to? no one, but would be [college roomie] Amy.
28. What did you do last night?   M and I both got online for a bit, lol, then watched t.v. late and worked on her Christmas gift for a cousin;
Then LAST night, Thursday night, I watched Love Actually someone bestowed upon me for Christmas, as I could mostly figure out the DVD player, but not the television.  Do I have "needs a lighthearted romantic comedy" sign on my forehead?  Hmm.   I wouldn't if some men didn't need more confidence, but that's okay; I'll let them amuse me:)  I don't need them.   (Two local guys, not BJ whom, um, we're fine.)   Then again, a couple of the male actors in Love Actually are pretty fine looking boys.
29. Favorite smells? peppermint at the moment, M's hair, the ocean
30. What inspires you?  I know somehow, someway, God helping me, I CAN do this (generic "this").  And M.   And, sometimes, those moments when a youth gets back to me and I've realized I've made some small difference in her life.
31. What are you afraid of?  conflict, failure with something big
32. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? veggie with cheese
33. Country you would most like to visit? Scotland, then Ireland
34 Favorite dog breed? eh, I don't know.   I have a beagle but that's by default.  I'm a cat person.
35. Number of keys on your key ring?  I don't know:)  (meaning I'm not looking, either, lol)
36.How many years at your current job? depends, with my employer, 26 years; in THIS particular job, 8-10 years?
37. Favorite day of the week? Saturday.
38. How many states have you lived in? 3.  I've also lived in the District of Columbia, which isn't a state so I didn't count it.:) 
39. Favorite holiday? Christmas
40. Ever driven a Motorcycle or heavy machinery? yes
41. Favorite Must See TV Show? Grey's Anatomy, and Everybody Hates Chris (with M)
Okay that's it for me.
phew! :)

Tis the end of December

 Tis the end of December, and what have we here?
Almost warm weather to ring in the new year.
The flag's at 1/3 mast and should be at half.
The new tops for girls at least cover their ass.
"A very merry Christmas" still comes in my mail,
from "the near and the dear ones," to brighten our tales.
The t.v.'s not working till M gets back home.  
With a 4-day weekend, what will I get done?
Hiking, and housework, which options for fun?
The calendar's ready, blank days await,
With photos of Daisy, and Billy with Tink.
We'll fill time with memories, with hopes and with dreams.
School trips and dancing, a wedding and moonbeams.
Tis the end of December with a whole year ahead.
"Let's hope it's a good one without any" dread.
(With assumptions of forgiveness from John Lennon for butchering his fine song.)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Other Irish Dance Journals

Did a search on ceili and Oireachtas for the past monthish.  

Amanda had a GREAT myspace entry about how to tell that she's an Irish Dancer, which had me laughing, including her ringtones and doing reels and jigs in hallways, that even her friends know how to pronounce Oireachtas and ceili, how she saved for her solo dress and went cheap for her prom dress, etc.  But, seems she's gone private now.  She's a kid.  Going private isn't a bad thing.

Aryn had this to say about her time at Southern Region Oireachtas, with her and her friends all recalling, congrats! (and quick visits into D.C.): moosemuffin03: OIREACHTAS WEEKEND!

Natalie felt great as she'd danced her best at Southern Region Oireachtas, however her scores turned out.   I love that spirit, and that she danced for the love of it.   Ends up she also World Qualified, so congrats to her.

Liz is a fanatic of the U-15 boy who won first at Southern Regional Oireachtas (beating out J who dances with my daughter, M), who is also the reigning World Champion.  She's also worried about switching ID schools.  altitudeissues: Mostly dance-related

Denise writes an article (or has hers quoted on this journal) from an adults perspective about the dedication of adult Irish stepdancers at the Midatlantic Regional Oireachtas.  Click on the happy feet icon and / or the photo gallery link for photos from Philadelphia.

Doyle welcomes those near Manassas, Virginia, to join in ceili and set dancing, providing some description.   (Trying to figure out if I've seen him at a ceili sometime!  I used to attend them occasionally in Fairfax.)

Of course, ones I've highlighted previously, ZandB's slightly irreverant blog  Zebadiah and Beauregard's Front Porch , MegMAID's  MegaMAID's Parenting Parables , and "look Ma" new ceili dancer's Look, Mom, I Can Ceili journals I have listed on my side bar to your left.  If you have others to share, please do so!

Happy dancing:)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

slightly different survey

I'm bored and distracted, so am snagging this from dpoem's blog.  Besides, he won't mind someone advertising it again  Me Meme!

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
    Hasn't this zit gone away yet?  Wow, too much white moisturizer. 

2. How much cash do you have on you?
    Zero.  In my purse, um, $25.42, which is more than usual.

3. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?
    Floor, score, four score. 

4. Favorite planet?
Planet?   Can I just stick to the moon?  I can see the moon, even in the telescope with my bad eyes and these old handmedown eyeglasses, the moon is still clearest.  I'll have to think about this.  Maybe I'll pick Pluto, yanno, as it's been demoted lately.  (
5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
Fourth?  It doesn't say, that I can tell.  Maybe that fourth person was from too many days ago to still show up.   I don't give out that number to just anyone.

6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?
On MINE?   None.   I really should download some sometime.   M could help me, I'm sure, lol.   Wonder what one she'd want for her, still Sponge Bob?

7. What shirt are you wearing?
Light pinkish with an embroidered Winnie the Pooh with blowing leaves, and a fake serpa vest.    Hey, I wore a tank top and sweater yesterday. 

8. Do you label yourself?
    No.  I know my name already.  ;)  I don't care to be confined within a label.

9. Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing?
    Socks.  The color of my shirt, of course.

10. Bright or Dark Room?
    At the moment, it's bright.  My preference is natural or soft lighting, sunset or sunrise, firelight, candlelight, especially reflecting upon water or off of fine architecture.

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
    He keeps us entertained:)

12. What does your watch look like?   
It's a snap-bracelet with blue and green squares.  On each square are photos of a beagles face.   Yes, a young Irish Dancer sibling loves playing with it for, literally, hours at a time.  It was supposed to be my daughters watch but being I'm without a watch battery in my pink leather watch........  Then again, I usually just use my cell phone.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?
    Either watching mindless t.v. or finally tired enough to sleep.   I didn't seek out my watch or cell phone to check the time ;)   I just snuggled and slept.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
    "get glue gun" 

15. Where is your nearest 7-11?
    A few blocks away.  

16. What’s a word that you say a lot?
    Not sure.   I don't listen to myself speak:)

17. Who told you he/she loved you last?
    My daughter.  Unless you count kitty kisses.

18. Last furry thing you touched?
    Perhaps Billy.   Maybe Daisy.  I try to hug each of our animals every day. 

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?
    I think I may have stopped the Sudafed and ibuprofen sometime during the last 3 days, and I had most of a glass of wine on Christmas Day with dinner.    That'd be it.  Nothing illegal.

20. How many rolls of film do you need developed?
    I may be down to one, perhaps two.   I did get M's disposable digital camera turned in:)  Maybe aol pictures will cooperate with me, finally.

21. Favorite age you have been so far?
    Possibly age 20.  I thought I needed desperately to be 21 years old so I could work in one of the bars in Santa Barbara that summer, but I think I had more fun memories from there the summer I was 20 not quite 21, plus back at University of Maryland, also.  No longer a freshman, andalmost but not quite out of there.

22. Your worst enemy?
    Myself.  (Ditto what Dan said!)   Well, and C isn't so fond of me but sheesz, let's get over that already, please.

23. What is your current desktop picture?
    This is for the technologically inclined, apparently.   My favorite one is somehow overridden by my second favorite one.  My favorite one shows various shots from Assateague/Chincoteague Island.
24. What was the last thing you said to someone?
    Hmm.  Verbally?  Something akin to, "Thanks, I know this took you a lot of time.  I can get them where they need to go now."

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?
    Being named Robin, I thought I COULD fly, for years.  I'd dream of it, and yet in real life, it didn't work out quite the same.   I'd have to fly, just have to.  Maybe money could come out of that somehow.
26. Do you like someone?
    Ah, yeah.  

27. The last song you listened to?
    Into the Ocean by Blue October

28. What time of day were you born?
     Fall Saturday, about 10 minutes after 8pm.  

29. What’s your favorite number?
    Ah, why would I give that away?

30. Where did you live in 1997?

31. Are you jealous of anyone?

32. Is anyone jealous of you?
Sometimes, I'm not so sure.   I'm not clear why anyone would be.   One person who could be, should just focus on himself instead (if he is jealous of me).

33. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
    By the time of the second attack, at work, in my office in the DC suburbs, and NOT in our DC office where I had been working a previous year or for occasional meetings and such.   We were in lockdown, while we tried to watch what was going on and let relatives know we're safe, not in our DC office today, then we were kicked out.   I picked up M from her school and we went to a local park, beautiful evenwith sonic jets booming overhead.

34. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
    If it seems the item is just stuck, themachines at work will spit that item out and the next one if more money is put in.   Or, I'll leave a note.  Outside of work, I try to report it, or if in a park or something, I think I'm going to call the # listed but typically I don't.

35. Do you consider yourself kind?

36. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?
    Somewhere discrete. ;)

37. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?
   Hmmm, improve my ASL and Spanish, or learn Irish Gaelic?  Something new would be fun, usable or not.

38. Would you move for the person you loved?
    More that I'm agreeing NOT to move for the one I love (my daughter).  For a guy?   Sure, depending, but not until my daughter's grown.

39. Are you touchy feely?
    Eh, define that...... depends.   Not with random people.

40. What’s your life motto?
    "To thine own self be true, and therefore it shall follow that you can be false to no man." - Shakespeare.   I think?  That and, "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalms something, I think.   lol

41. Name three things that you have on you at all times?
    ALL times?   My one bracelet.   MOST times?  My eyeglasses, my bracelets and rings and earrings, hair clip or tie, and socks, and my cell phone.

42. What’s your favourite town/city?
    Boston, Massachusetts.   I'm willing to travel more and get a new favorite:)

43. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
    Two bagels, cream cheese, and a lemonade, for lunch with M yesterday.

44. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
Typed, printed, and mailed, last night, business-wise.   Handwritten, in late November.   I haven't mailed it yet but I still plan to.   She lives in Australia, and really needs to get e-mail.

45. Can you changethe oil on a car?
     My former car, yes.  My current SUV, um, I can rationalize the cost-effectiveness not being worth it, but basically, no. 

46. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?
He'd moved to Wisconsin and married a nurse.  Last I heard, his mother died of colon cancer about the same time my father was winning his battle with colon cancer.  

47. How far back do you know about your ancestry?
Not exactly a DAR but someone on one side traced us back about that far.   I can only recall so much. 

48. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?   
  The last ceili I remember being dressed up fancy for, was a Christmas ceili.  I'd been cut badly that December, from my eye to my lips.   I spent time covering it and the bandages up carefully.   My first real outing after scaring  a little girl in the local 7-11 I haven't been in since.   I'd found a spaghetti-strap dark green dress, of light material with 3 hemlines that flounced when I was spun around.   One of my friends there, asking me to dance, told me with a smile and his hand out for mine, that I looked "Devastating."  I felt better again then:)

And when Brian was in town, for his reunion over Labor Day weekend.   A long sleeveless black fitted dress, with a slit that goes up from the ankle to just above the knee, black heels and hose yes I found hose, lol.   A purple rhinestone-like "brooch" attached to my hair tied in a bun.   I forgot to tell him I'd been scarred.  

49. Does anything hurt on your body right now?
    Amazingly, I think NOT!

50. Have you been burned by love?

I Slept

Sounds so simple, "I slept."  For some, sleeping is not so simple.  This go-around, I wasn't even fully aware that my sleep had been less than restful, even fitful perhaps. 

One morning I woke from a dream where I'd been given a special needs infant, or ICU preemie, not clear, Angelique, to hold tight, love and care for, as if my job (was I a doctor, a nurse?).   The child blossoming later into a healthy girl as if I hadn't fully recognized her.  Not even sure why it took me until later to connect that this is analogous to M, albeit w/out the preemie special needs and tubes bit.  Not sure that my dream was intended to be analogous with M.   Of course, I've been doing my best for MY angel, M, and she is lovely and is growing still.  M and my mother teased each other on Christmas Day as M is now slightly taller than my mom, hmmm, maybe 1/4 inch taller albeit that was debated lol.  Mom has shrunk over time.   M and I wear each others shoes.   All three of us at different stages.   But this dream was before that.

M and I have also been sick, breathing being tricky while sleeping.  Feeling a bit better each day.  Mostly, I think it's been stress.  

Dad called yesterday as M and I were leaving to go see Charlotte's Web.  THIS was the shoe dropping.   I'd been in dread, as if a premenition (sp) even, something would / could happen.  Not my things after all, which I'm handling, but his ridiculous predator mortgage company.  Weirdly, I felt relief.   I knew now what the "bad news" was.  M and I were going to enjoy a movie:)

Charlotte's Web was the only movie M wanted to see that was being shown early enough for me to be sure we'd be back home in time for her pickup (for her dad's home).  We'd read the book when she was very young, perhaps even in primary (preschool/kindergarten combined Montessori class).   Yes, I cried.   Sheesz.   I can be such a sap.  Well done movie, surprisingly full of big names.   Thankfully no fake lame attempts for a Maine accent (the setting is Maine).   M ended up resting her head on my shoulder and I hugged her.  We don't get to see movies in the theatre very often, and I'd wanted a special just her and me activity to finish our share of her winter break.

 I called Dad back.  His mortgage company have been calling him daily, even though he's paying just later in the month as that's when his social security check comes.   Yesterday, the guy threatened Dad with foreclosure proceedings.   His regular monthly payment is about $550/month, and they've added an escrow amount of over $1,100./month.   That's utterly ridiculous.  Dad said that he doesn't even bring in that much each month, and was told "that's not our problem."  Dad later didn't recall that, yet could give me the guys name and phone number.  I will talk with someone else there today, after being certain I've found the signed letter from Dad authorizing them and me to talk with each other.

And, took more steps on my things.  One big one.   I'm a daughter of an accountant, and have ADD.   I never did my own taxes; Dad did them until he couldn't any longer.  Actually, he still did and then I'd go over them after.   The last thing he wished to give up was doing tax returns for his immediate family and himself, so I'd let him just didn't trust it as fully those last years.   (One of the earlier years I asked him about EIC, and he said it hadn't occurred to him as none of his other clients qualify.  Otherwise, he was on top of it all.)  I can tell you all sorts of tax accounting rules and tidbits.  I have a math-capable mind.  Paperwork overwhelms me.  It used to be not the doing of the tax returns, but the compiling of the data and proof to enter into them, that'd bog me down the most.  And yet rules change each year.   I'd spend nights and days and still feel overwhelmed, finally admitting I needed help, I'm not a professional.   But my professional help ended up being more interested in my child than me, ICK ICK ICK so obviously I nixed all contact there.   The IRS decided to calculate my taxes for me, and that I owed an additional over $9,000 for 2004.   It was a bit freaky to think about.   I'd see news items of high-profile people going to jail, and know that homes and vehicles can be confiscated.   Ahh, but I'm okay.   I had 30 days to respond and they can close the case, no fuss (I think) even if I miscalculated the 30 days thinking I had until December 24th which means postmarked by the 26th, when it was a 23rd date.   Even with a sizeable amount of money withdrawn from my retirement fund that year, I was due a nice refund from my Federal taxes.   Yep, the year of the 3-day in court trial (later going to appeals even, I still owe many thousands I'll repay when M's out of her private school).   The year my car caught fire.   The year my air conditioner unit needed replacing.   Oh, and I was behind on my mortgage.   Withdrawing from a retirement account takes consideration and is not a first choice option.   Somehow, even though I planned to do my 2004 tax return last night after M had left, I actually DID.  Just it was the 1040A.  Ugh.  I can't add property taxes and mortgage interest rate on that form, that I can see, and I only had an estimate for those, anyway.  Getting too tired.  All I really needed to do was explain how I was due a refund and hence felt I was not required to file (showing I had no criminal intent and no fraudulent intent).  I did write that, plus sent the draft 1040A with childcare expenditures I need to locate details on, and that I'm head of household and yadda yadda.   (One has either 2 or 3 years from when one is scheduled to file by, to file and still claim a refund, so 2004 would have been by April 15th, 2005, but I filed an extension, so by April 15th 2006 or 2007.  So, ultimately, I'll get a refund from this, too.)   To the post office, verified postage, mailed.  

I mostly completed this, enough to send to them, so communicating to them IS completed for now.  Wow, good.  Unfinished projects are all over our home, even the wreaths I meant to make for my father, and the Lucie mobile that's not coming out quite perfectly for M's taste.   And 2005 taxes but they're not bugging me about them, yet.

Last night, with M gone with her dad's long-term girlfriend (Sh) and their daughter (Si), I was up late.  Typically, the first night M's away for a stretch of time, it's harder for me to get to sleep until I'm TIRED.  Well, I was tired anyway.  Yet we've been staying up late.  Feeling fairly refreshed when Daisy and I woke up this a.m., I figured I'd stayed zonked out too long, how late would I be to work?   Hmm, not terribly!   I'd finally SLEPT.   Even if I'm feeling tired and ready for a nap NOW :)

Monday, December 25, 2006

This is what's missing

I spent part of this past week feeling waves of angst.   

I wrote a whole entry I didn't post, questioning my last post as being too naive, too pollyanna.  Did this unposted one sound too anxiety-ridden?   M upbeat, she'd finished that homework YEAH, which requires my support of course.   We can move on now, to Christmas preparations, and money issues.   A night M stayed at her father's, I'd spent a couple hours at my fathers going over his bills with him.   The former accountant retains such detailed memory in fragments, combined with little to no short-term memory blanks.  Me with massive ADD, he with dementia.  Oy.   It was also time for me to deal with a large financial issue of my own, and M's school is no longer thinking a longer-term payment plan is a great idea, so that one option persued isn't helping as I'd hoped.   One morning, I woke up to warm white fuzzy being, and I knew, M and our cats and Daisy, this is my little family.  I wish to keep them safe, protected, no need to worry.   I don't want this big thing looming.   Even as I work on plans to handle it, it's not going as quickly as I'd hoped.   I feared the worst.

Little Christmas music played on our main radio station this December.   Hmmm, I finally realize this, pondered maybe I should switch, pull out our cd's.   They promise a marathon of Christmas music, so I'm pleased and stay tuned in.   It's pilgrimage time on Saturday morning.   I am literally stopped, then go, then stopped, on the highway to my mother's.   The plan was simply to pick up M and spend the day finishing our Christmas preparations, after she'd spent her annual day together with Grandma / Bampbob preparing for Christmas.   I imagine these lines of cars traveling home, and those stopped along the side with their cell phones, as if thousands of years ago, instead traveling on donkeys and camels and on foot, days of preparations, to be registered in their hometowns.   I'm certain Mary felt every rock her donkey stopped upon.   The animals left behind in others care, today, are often more dogs and cats.   A dalmation in our neighborhood hadn't eaten sad for her "daddy" was away, even while enjoying playtime with Daisy, accompanied by her dog sitter.    I suppose it was difficult back then to make reservations in advance, and Mary and Joseph weren't able to stay with family even.

A bright day, some final window shopping, we're home.  M is happy, and strings colored lights on the cat tree she is insistent will be a fine Christmas tree.   I wasn't convinced.  I washed the dishes and made peanut butter cookies with kisses on top; M vacuumed (wow!) near the cat tree I'd carpet-cleaned the night before.   Traditionally, we'd gone to pick out a tree, I found a way to put that in the budget, nixing a gift to do so.  A couple years of an artificial tree.   We'd been planning just what to do TO the cat tree, which garland (including a green feather boa-like one), candycanes or not, the felt ornaments from the horse show or not.  It actually looks grand!  M smiles just as grandly, and toasts me with our very nutmegg'd eggnog, "To NO pine!"   Ah, she never has liked the smell of pine.

Away from M, away from being busy, I'd get anxious.   How much was due to my still feeling ill and nauseous?   How much was important get my butt in gear worry?  How much was eating me alive and stressing my heart, I cannot risk a stroke or heart attack.  I'd pray some, finally.   I still felt convinced I had reason to worry.  And, I do, just trust in the Lord and work on it as best I can.   I couldn't reach that point, however.

I took a break from the church nursery, looking for tea and goodies.   In that Hall was a sign, Phillipians something.   Be ye not anxious.............   peace is found with God type thing.  I wrote it down just forget it now.   Peace is STILL what I wish for:)   Yes, this is good.   I stopped and prayed again, quickly, to get back.   I was feeling better.

Update:  NIV Phillipians 4:4-7 4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

M pondered the best placement of beads and trinkets to balance out the mobile she's making for Lucie.  She didn't make crafts for her dad and me this year in art.   She's getting older now.   Lucie's even younger than Si is, so this is fun.   We run by the mall to return pants I'd hoped would fit her and she finds another gift for her dad, sigh, so yes I buy it.  She's a giving soul.   I don't wish to dampen that.  I want to embrace all of this Christmas time, while feeling that pit, that grip on my heart and stomach still.  

C wrote, confirming the time for pickup Tuesday (a day earlier as he wanted to trade Christmas Eve/Morn for this).   He says he hopes I'd be willing to not see M on the holiday if the schedule is ever such that it'd be during the part of break she's with him.   BJ wrote, among happy greetings of the spirit, "Now explain to do you "give up" time with your child??  Does it come with a store receipt?  Do you just go to the returns dept and exchange it for a toaster oven?????  Sorry, just don't get it...not to mention the message it sends to M!   "Sorry, honey, dad's got something better going on...maybe next year..."  !!!!!!!!!!   Just plain wrong."  There is no way in heck I'd ever do that to M.   Christmas isn't just a holiday.   It's, well, mass for Christ, celebration of his birth.   M and I talked of how Jesus wasn't really born on December 25th, and yet, it's when we prepare for it, it's thee date.   I had her call there Christmas Eve, as it'd been enough days in the break.  Si was all excited to set out Santa plates and had written a letter C planned to respond to, as if Santa.   M was silent for a bit after that call.   Even on the Christmas Eves/Morns she's been with C, per her previous conversations with me, he's never once done the Santa thing with M.   So I simply remind her to start up back up the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie.

We get dinner to go just before it closes, bless them I think, as they give up their time to serve us.  We took some dinner to my father.   It's the second time I visited there Christmas Eve, for he asked me to wrap the cookies I'd gotten for him to give the woman who brings his newspaper up the long driveway each day, and more Christmas cards.  (More? ah well, so he lost the others).   He let me trim his beard earlier; I fibbed and told him he'd asked me to do it.  LOL.  He'd gone back and forth as to whether or not to see a barber.   He agreed to change his shirt, Dad, it's Christmas time, maybe wear this one, look, olive and red, Christmasy.   "No one sees me."  I will, M may come by.   Is this new?   No, I think Beth got it for you last year.   He actually looked good for himself.  Except then he said for us to not come by today.   He'd opened up the big box from Beth and Len, handing me packages, worried as there were none for M in there.  AH, but Beth and M had e-mailed; shhhh, Beth is getting M the Teada cd and a great book from in time for New Years:)  (We'll bring Dad his gifts from us tomorrow.)

The fifth service of the day for me, out of the six my church held on Christmas Eve (they nixed the 8am service), this time, I got to worship, also.  M wanted me to take her photo by the tree in the narthex.  How beautiful.  My angel, old enough for me to allow her a touch of mascara and lip gloss, young enough to pick the excess wax off of her special candle, and keep it lit until theee very last must give it back moment after service and singing of Silent Night, Holy Night.   We sat on the end of a pew, just us two until a man sat at the way other end, friends in front.   He'd bring the offering plate, the body of Christ broken for me, and the blood of Christ, broken for me, to me.   I then did the same for M.  I wished to speak to him after, him sitting there alone as I could have been, would have been, if C had kept M with him this year as scheduled, and yet, not alone.  Communion is a connection, not "just" with God, the important connection in Communion, but with the others there as well.   I tried to remember the verse from Phillipians, praying, God, take away my anxiety, help me deal with these problems.   Forgive me.   Please, Lord.   Ahhh, it's after midnight, Merry Christmas, sweetheart.  Sharing the Holy Spirit which is the "magic" of Christmas.  M's been so excited forthis.

In the car, I turned on the radio, for the Christmas songs promised.   Reindeer light our path home, one on every light, magical.   Oh, Holy Night, let us continue on with the real Spirit and meaning.   A loud "Grandma got run over by a reindeer, walking home from our house Christmas Eve........"   How garious it sounded.   Other moments, I laugh and enjoy that song.   Then Winter Wonderland, lovely enough but a winter song, not Christmas.  How secular, how cultural Christian, the timing all wrong.   (Thesongs played this afternoon some 12 hours later or so, were fantastic and more what I was looking for.)  Quick song break, "holiday songs" blitz.  Oh.  Not Christmas songs even, holiday songs.  

M slept enroute home, then we made Santa's plate, including peppermints for each of the 8 reindeer, and a healthy plate.  I pulled out a special songbook of ours, "The First Noelle."  I think, or Noel.   We used to read it nightly preparing for Christmas.   We'd missed Sundays at church, for Oireachtas, for a horse show, for being exhausted after New York.   M wanted to sing four or five or MORE songs, Christmas carols.   About the birth of our savior.

That's what's been missing, in my life of late even though I know better, in those who can't see Christmas as but another holiday.   There is nothing wrong with so much of how people celebrate Christmas.   I even understand the temptations to just be a cultural Christian.   Ahh, but where is the heart, the love?   Believe.   Yes, Believe.   Where IS the peace I so crave?  That I received, finally accepting, handing my anxieties over to the Lord?  The father, the son, and the holy spirit.   Happy Christmas.  

Wherever you are, know that you are loved, and not ever alone.  If you're with people who love you, no matter the money involved, or, um, not involved, then you are extra blessed.   Sleep in heavenly peace:)

(And, for the record, I completely respect those who believe in other faiths, truly, we are a wonderfuly diverse nation and I'm blessed for having such diversity in our own community.  But, me?   I have the right to celebrate and feel and honor MY faith, too.   Thatis what our country is founded upon.  Christianity is not politics, but that's another post.)

Oh, and yes, I still need to deal, still AM dealing with "the issues."  He's helping me with some insights, and took away the anxiety portion when I'm willing to let it go:)   I did another step with that today even, after a full and lovely Christmas Day, at home, at my mothers'/Bob's, all with M.  (The cats were playing in the boxes this morning while I tried to set up M's gifts, that I finally just gave them a bag!  Daisy went back to sleep after her stocking, the Christmas rawhide next to her.   Mom kept worrying that M might be disappointed, "it's not our usual Christmas," but she's spent PLENTY on us lately.   The table was full, and M special and loved.)   (Yes, M's dad did call her, too.)   Doesn't mean we don't have to take responsibility as we are able to in our lives.   Just that God can and will help us through them.  Trust in him.   Finding peace.  "Life is good"

(Other than the first real nice one of M at church, candlelight servie Christmas Eve, from her digital camera, these are from my disposable camera, and are "okay."  The one of her sitting, is in our church nursery earlier Christmas Eve, and, well, have to include our Christmas Cat Tree photos!  They LOVED that tree.   Captain is looking up at Billy in the one.  That's Tinkerbell under the light and necklaced with Christmas "lights" that actually lit up; I thought her being mostly blind, this may intrigue her.  By the time M was up, Daisy was almost asleep, lol, but her photo and gold ribbon didn't make it on here.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Wishes

I send M off to school this morning with gifts she and I have picked out for her two teachers, and her Secret Snowflake.  And the last of the homework due before school lets out at noon tomorrow, DONE, phew.  It's really been piled on, two presentations (the Bolivia country report was presented in Spanish, and with props), a chemistry project and an art project, finals, rewrites and new writing assignment, spelling and math, and even seminar reading and questions on Agent Orange.  In these 2 days.  Are they nuts?  One Christmas wish was that I could be sure M got this all finished, realistically, planning it all out carefully this past week and longer.   A couple times, it's as if God helped open doors for us to let her stay working on it.  So much work, she wanted to complete it all on time or early.  NOW, well, after her school work today, she can relax, too:)  Tomorrow they will celebrate!   We can enjoy now!

We'd gotten Secret Snowflake his gift from the M&M store in New York City, only open 9 days!   All the students wrote down their wishes; he'd written cheap chocolate.   None we'd seen previously seemed quite right to M.  The second floor of the M&M store includes ceiling-high tubes of colored M&M's, that can be mixed and matched in colors not seen in the typical store.   M chose Christmas colors, wrapping the large bag this a.m. in an M&M gift bag and generic hand-made card.   She's afraid he may like her, so she didn't wish to get mushy or flirty at ALL, no Hershey's kisses, no special card.   Just in case.   That'd be horrific, apparently.

Mo will get "juicy" Expo dry-erase markers.  There was no question in M's mind that this would be her gift for Mo.  Um, okay.  At least I know it's something Mo will use!  It's hard to tell for a teacher gift sometimes.   I was getting amused listening to M relay stories about Mo and how particular she is with her markers:)   Mo wants them juicy, and to be Expo.   Mo won't use some colors, such as seafoammist green or some such name, as it's "too distracting."   "What about this set, honey, it even has a special eraser."  Hmmmm.   M would ponder, checking out the colors.   We settled upon a multipack of about 15-20.  M put on Mo's card that she can give any extras she won't use to Mr. Lang.  :)   (Mo also got some cinnamon tea just because it seems like her.)

Mr. L is the environmentalist outdoorsy person.  I'd found a book on mountain biking in the MD/DC/VA area.   Others had better titles, but this one offered what I was looking for.   It had maps, what to expect at different mile markers, the terrain, etc.  The store was out of my favorite C&O Canal book, the others not really emphasizing what I wished (not even including my favorite Locks with more than a passing nod).  The mountain biking book is more usable for him, heck, he could hike these trails, too, perhaps with students along.   He's not from here, so may learn of a new place.  With a 25% off coupon and a store credit, I could get this:)  M was not so convinced, for I screwed it up and told her it was a dirt biking book.   "Well, will your dad like it?"   Um, his interest is more mountain biking, also.  The option was a pair of nice homemade mens wool gloves I rediscovered from my items from Bolivia.   M gave me a big smile this a.m. when I showed her the book, along with an explanation on the difference between mountain biking and dirt biking.  LOL.  I knew the difference, just spaced.

(Update: Mr. L said he'd almost bought this same book for himself but held off! and Mo offered happy thanks as well, so M was pleased.  She received a talking poinsettia.)

M was speculating.   "Hmmm, I've spent so much time wondering just what to get [Secret Snowflake], I forgot to guess what I'll get!"  She thinks she knows who has her, though, and is happy.   That girl will get something M will enjoy, and has even left M secret notes.  "I think she'll get me horse stuff, knowing [girl], that's what she'll get me.  I also put down cheap jewelry."   Previously, she'd told me her $10. max ideas were horse stuff, and gift cards to either Michael's (arts and craft store), Aeropostale, American Eagle (not that $10. goes far there), Borders, or Starbucks.   She's 12 years old, asking for a gift card to STARBUCKS?!  LOL.   We ran into Art Teacher, who smiled at M, and said that having known M all these years, she could see M asking for this. 

"Oh, and you can tell Grandma that I also want one of those ring fixer things."  She has binders for every subject which use loose-leaf paper.  The holes sometimes tear, requiring a little sticky-backed white paper ring to repair the holes.   Staples had a fancy gizmo that holds several of these paper rings in an applicator.  I did get her the wire shelf with suction cups on the back, for M to use in her locker.   I should add "office supply store" to her potential list of gift cards:)

The other day, I mentioned to M that Teada has a new cd out.   "Can I get it!!!!!"  She just might:) I wish they sold t-shirts, too.   Basically, a "boy band" out of Ireland, who play traditionally-styled Irish / celtic music, and M just adores, and I like.  Avril Lavigne may have a new cd out?   Sarah MacLachan has a Christmas cd out, that I've read is "eh."  Hmmm.   But, "eh" for Sarah MacLachan has still got to be rather spectacular and listenable.   Seeing the cd U218 had me telling M without a doubt, I'd enjoy that one for Christmas.   Some great songs listed on that one.

And peppermint lotion.  "Peppermint lotion?"  "Well, yeah.  You know I had to go into almost every store in the local mall to find you angel wings and a halo for the horse show."  "Ah, Mom, is there something you want to tell me?"  lol   See, there was this big display of it outside of Bath and Bodyworks, so I had to try it.   I have peppermint soap and lotion in my bathroom right now, too.   I'm in peppermint mode:)   Even treated myself to some candycanes.

Saw a burgandy velveteen purse at World Market that's real pretty, and will work well enough.   I'm to be surprised when I open it, lol.   The 40% off coupon helped:)   Of course, M saw things for Si, and her three cousins from her dad's side, and nice reddish candles for Sh.   She's a very giving child.   M even bought chocolate golf balls for her uncle on her dad's side, as she saw them and they reminded her of him.   She never asked me for money for that.  I did pay for most of the other things.  Ahh, it's so neat to see her enjoying giving just the right gift!

M may have forgotten that she wants the Little Mermaid dvd.  I did get that:)  Anda tinkerbell traveling mug that looks very grownup.  And some clothes.  That child has grown again just this fall, at least an inch.  Step Up is a movie we saw in Maine this summer about a performing arts high school in Baltimore, and a foster boy who ends up trading his street gang ways to infuse a different dance viewpoint, and becoming a student himself.   I haven't even seen it out.   Maybe sometime, she can get that, too!

And a glue gun (for arts/crafts), only about $2., for a project she may do for the dance troupe gift exchange.

And M'd really mostly like a solo dress, 'can't everyone just put their money together."   I know money isn't easy to come by, and there is an issue about whether or not it's okay any more.   Others her combination level have them, Ma has okayed it for M as soon as M made prizewinner last Spring, but she's not ALL prizewinner.   Ma prefers girls wait until then.   Still:)  For shows and stuff......
I let her know that seeing the Rockette's is really a Christmas gift, too, from my mother, and she (and I) both know and understand that.  In Bryant Park, we saw fun gifts, M picking out a pink tee with a glittery NYC skyline on it.   Mom got M a hat and scarf set for both M and Niece.   It doesn't match a thing M has as outerwear, lol, but, she likes it and wears it.   Even if she'd have been perfectly fine without any of that.  Heck, I still want eyeglasses, I need them, but, I'm fine without them still as time goes along.
Mostly?  I want "Better Days," like what the Goo Goo Dolls sing about.   In some ways, it's what M wants, too.  The "real" things in life.   Yes, we'll visit "Winter Lights" again, for charity but for us, really, for our annual tradition.   This year, Md will join us.  Last year, BJ joined us.  Magical, twinkling lights.   "I've already been through there this year, Mom."  Huh?  M, Md and others in their class played frisbee golf near there recently in the daytime.   She is not so happy that the big swan? on the lake isn't there any longer.   We'll put up the ornaments, wrap around garland on the cat tree which she keeps insisting will be our Christmas tree this year (even if I'm not convinced yet).  
M's in a school she loves, feels very comfortable in, I love FOR her, and I'm struggling to keep her in, financially, but it's worked all these years so far.  I want her challenged enough, thinking, learning, exploring.  I want her healthy, in body and mind and soul, and happy.  Even if we're both sick with bad head colds right now, mostly we're healthy. 
I want peace.  Mom got fussy with me early December.  Mom, get your own journal!   Don't take things out on ME!   She always has, really, only verbally not ever physically.  Still.  One of the things was Mom being upset that Dad hasn't paid Mom back yet the full amount she's owed.  Finally, I had to acknowledge her feelings and words, which I did mostly agree with, and let her know Dad's problems aren't technically MY problem, either, and that I do not wish for discord between her and I.   Please, Mom, be angry at Dad if you wish, just be angry at HIM for it, not through or at me.  I didn't need or want that pressure, or to be in the middle, sins of the parents don't put on the child.  And, she stopped. 
I want peace, and better coparenting.   M was allowed to attend the December school horse show.  She SO wanted to be in Octobers they didn't allow, AND this one.   We'd spent most of the week getting her and her horses costume ready.  And she'd laugh watching her friends riding the "Sit a Buck" competition (she had gotten out already), in a white satin leotard with a huge white ballerina skirt over her riding pants lol.  She called me the night before, C in the background hurrying her off, her obviously insisting on calling as he never allows it typically unless Court Ordered.  Yes, honey, I already dropped off x,y,z, today and just have the halo to make and the felt ornaments to finish, yes, I'll meet you.  Her whispering that she hadn't told C or Sh that she needed a check, too, but she'll bring some of her money from her dads.   I gritted my teeth, bit my tongue, not happy that she feels uncomfortable with this, knowing I had not received child support at that point and couldn't pay this, Sh said for M to sign up, BUT, I would NOT put M into parental strife, nor would I let her pay.  I overslept but it was fine.  I helped her and the horse, she was happy.   C returned with her breakfast, sitting in such a way to block me, whatever.  Twice I told him I had found the jeans from his home, the very bottom of our clothes hamper, here, please take them (washed and folded).  The second time, he didn't ignore me.  After the girls went off on their own to the inside ring, to watch, I left for a while.  I wanted C to be able to interact with M, and I was rather forcing it:)   Ugh, I mistimed my return, missing one of her competitions.   She was okay with my apology.  C had her 2nd place ribbon stuffed in his pocket.   Yeah, then a first place on her jumping! :)  I took a couple proud momma photos of her, the tree topper angel on top of Christmas tree Echo.  C raced over, snatched her blue ribbon off of Echo, and stuffed that into his pocket, too.   I almost laughed; it was SO daggone petty.  HER ribbons, C.   (Another day, M and I were looking at her horse ribbon collection, I told her that they were hers, if she wishes to keep them at his house, that's up to her, if she wishes to bring them home, they are hers, and she may do that.   M told me gravely that she wants them home.  I stayed upbeat, "Wherever you want them, honey, they are yours.")  There were requests for help moving the jumps, and he helped, and again with something else.  (Wow, okay, this is good, he's feeling welcome now, what both Barn Director and I wanted.)   I'd help hold M's horse or talk with her, sometimes talk with other parents and riders, C and I were both there as parents, just not right with each other, and this was good.  Her relay team got second place on Greta out of three, all laughing at trying to eat doughnuts and return "home."  M kept calling for me to stay in the stable with her, her her, while she took care of Echo after returning Greta.  C was around, too.  Sometimes, I'd talk with him, or try to.   Finally, he did respond, as if normal conversation.  Just a sentence.  Still, it's an improvement I'm glad for, for M's sake.  She doesn't require either of us, really, to help her, but, in another sense, she needs both of us there to support her.
I want peace.  I don't want hassle with C this break, over pickups and returns.   Wow.   Seems I will get peace with that, due toan e-mail from C last week.  Thanks, Lord.   None of us need that stress!
M has always shared Christmas Eve / Christmas Day with both of us, and our verbal agreement was to alter where she spent that night.   He is not a church attender (he says he believes and prays daily, who am I to judge what's in his heart in regards to his relationship with the Lord?, but organized religion is NOT for him, okay, fine).   Last I talked with C about his feelings towards Christmas mornings, he still was NOT fond of them, due to how his parents dealt with them, later divorcing which I suspect was ugly.   Most years, C would switch time around with me, M spending that particular portion of Christmas with me, instead, but him always still seeing her.  Until last year.  The Court Order has a new plan, alternating 3:30pm Christmas Eve until 12 noon Christmas Day.  Period.  Ack, so no mention of the other parent seeing her, say, Christmas afternoon?  I offered that to him, anyway, twice per my feeling it was the right thing, and per her sad face, her desire to know she was wanted there, too, by her daddy.   He declined.   It was heartbreaking.  I'm sure she cried.  She called him Christmas Day, all excited to also talk with Si, 3 1/2 last year, likely enjoying all her morning Santa gifts.   He didn't return the call.  M was hopeful she'd get to go to Vermont with everyone, and I told C I did not care which part of Christmas break M was with me.   He wished to follow the Court Order, and went without M.   Granted, his favorite relative, his beloved grandfather was dying.  I told him I was sorry to hear of that, and I meant it.  But, bring M along, then, or at least call her on Christmas Day.  Something.
This year, M is scheduled to be with C Christmas Eve night.   I was preparing myself for this.  I'm wanting M to have a relationship with her father, and all of her family.   I hate not sharing Christmas Eve with her, though.   Preparing myself for that evening candlelight service.  Remembering that very first one with M, her safely inside of me, and us sharing holy communion.  I understood more clearly how Mary had felt.  Not that I was a virgin nor do I claim to be perfect:)   I didn't have Gabriel per se.  Still, Iunderstood.   Being alone.  God was there for us, he is blessing us, forgiving me, whatever, spreading his love.   How likely I'd be to give birth if riding on a donkey in my 9th month of pregnancy.  
All those Christmas Eve services with M, and the one I'll never forget.  Her first candlelight Christmas Eve service.  Wow her eyes so big, taking in communion and the lights, there eager to watch an older girl sing the Silent Night solo.  It's a special time for the two of us.  She loves it.  However, would not be Christian of me to ask C to give that time up with her.   Would not be right of me to ask M to give up her time with C, either.
His e-mail basically relinquished seeing her over Christmas Eve or Day at ALL.  Not even an ask to reswitch to another timeframe.   I gave him a day to reconsider.  Why does he do this to M?   Doesn't he see how heartbreaking this is for M?   I told him that she mostly wishes to see both of us over that timeframe, but if this is how he wishes to handle Christmas 2006, it works for me.  
I eased M into this, spun it.   I learned via Sh that Sh was trying to plan Christmas with C's family over New Year's long weekend.  (Yep, Sh had Si in a feis, and then called to see about having M attend, as she'll be with them.  The next day, Sh called back, won't be traveling there to the feis where C's sister lives, but will have M's two cousins come over, instead, maybe others.   M has missed seeing them, the ones who live in Delaware I called to have come watch her dance there.)  Told M that her dad is letting us go to church services, "Wow."  M was shocked.   He did mention it, but still.  She actually seems okay with it this year, happy to get to church services, OUR candlelit church, not even Grandma's is the same.   I do NOT get why C would not see his own daughter over Christmas, especially as we're all fairly local to each other, and he living near my mother's/Bob's.  Maybe he's seeing other family then, Sh's dad maybe?  
I'll fill up her stocking on Christmas morning, now.   We'll have a chance to put out reindeer food, and Santa snacks up high so Daisy won't "help" eat them.
I wake up one December morning, warm white furrballs next to me.:)  My little family.  I wish to protect them, do right by all of them.  I have all that I need, really, even a nice boss at work who is telling me not to push myself while being sick.  Other than some financial stuff I'm working on that's, um, could use some prayer and more work, big issue, and then figure out my dad's, and do my taxes.  Dad IS getting two meals a day, weekdays now, which is a step.  My mother could have died early November, instead, she's shaking her booty in New York City, lol.  M is growing, and doing great:)  (And, as this is public, I don't talk details about BJ.)  Yes, life can be good.
Merry Christmas, all.  

And you ask me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
Cuz I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
And desire and love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again

And it's someplace simple where we could live
And something only you can give
And thats faith and trust and peace while we're alive
And the one poor child that saved this world
And there's 10 million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again

I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again

[ ]


Sunday, December 17, 2006

When Mom's happier (trip to NYC)

NYC was absolutely mobbed today. Mom was feeling ill yesterday, and none of us got much sleep last night / Friday night (gosh is it Sunday already?)
Mom was actually in a fairly good mood today for herself. Oh, M noticed that the seldom, for M, times she'd be dancing in the street or on the bus, Mom would fuss at M to stop. She wanted my SIL and first-time to NYC niece, to say what they wanted to do (but they honestly were not terribly concerned, all of us speaking up more as the day went on).
An online friend from Long Island, whom I've met up with before, would be coming into Manhattan herself, dinner and "the tree," just not when we would. Ah, another time:0 WOW, there was live music there I think I heard, and translucent angels with trumpets lining the path, I think, seeing them from the bus for we saw "the tree" from the other side.
Happened upon Bryant Park, as our intentions to view window displays got derailed by some rally. The NYPD gave us this nice but firm explanation as if to tourists, and I smiled and said we're from the DC area, we "get" it that these happen, and we need to move. It's okay, part of city life.

Ahhh, but Bryant Park .  Warm weather for December, hardly needing a jacket. It's as if a lower-key version of Rockefellor center, yet with outdoor vendors in matching little somewhat permanent, clear-sided booths. Some had items dangling (I meant to look further at those ornaments! I was hoping to get one for BJ.) All open-air booths, many with hand crafted items. I paused at two booths with South American wares. M is doing a country report, in Spanish, on Bolivia, see.
There is a fountain there, not running right now but nice for sitting. Free skating! Oh, I will remember this place:) Voices, music and singing, I could never figure out WHERE exactly. The announcer concluded the program, thanking The Chorus Line. The Russian Waltz from the movie, Anastasia, is one of my very favorites; I did enjoy hearing that today.  (Once Upon a December was on of M and my favorite waltzes when she was a girl.)

Niece loved Times Square, EVERYTHING. We did more walking about, the "usual" things such as St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Saks 5th Avenue window displays we viewed from a distance. The lines, the lines. Even a line to get into American Girl Place (sorry, M, next year???)
We had 3 hours to spend before meeting for lunch. We found a cool NYC with red lights on the Christmas tree mug at Starbuck's, cuz of course, there are tons of Starbucks there and we treated ourselves. Mom doesn't usually drink these drinks, the fat content can be high, yet it's her birthday today (Sunday!), we're in NYC, the peppermint mocha latte tasted like a peppermint patty to her. I got mine with white chocolate instead (preferring the same at Border's for free! the other day, with crushed peppermint on top, but I digress.)

M's classmate she drew as Secret Snowflake asked for cheap chocolate, or gift card to Target (or WalMart but I don't "do" walmart because of their policies towards their employees). Wow, a 3-story store for M&M's! Open only 9 days.

We showed niece the carousel inside Toys RUs, and ran into two girls, and families, from M's dance troupe! Amazing, really. They came up on a bus from a different area of Maryland, and also had 4:30 Rockette's tickets.
The fire in the street, bad enough to cause concern for the locals, the huge artwork of Christmas "lights," and red bulbs appearing to float on water at a large fountain, large snowflake lights on the sides of buildings, a large star hanging above an intersection.

Bubba Gumps for lunch. It was a late lunch, crowded waiting for our tables but it worked and was fun. When I saw another table had a sparkler for a guest, I asked the tour director if they could bring a special dessert for my mother, for her birthday. Sure! (They love those simple fun customer service things, I believe, and the wait staff smiled, no problem.)
Verified who was getting ice cream (part of our package deal, niece couldn't as she's vegan but naturally even after filling up on shrimp, and M on mahi-mahi fish and chips, we both said yes). Yep, they'll still do something for Mom. Great.
The table over the partition from us had two younger birthday girls, who giggled when told they'd promised to dance. We got our ice cream. Hmmm, nothing yet. Then, our waiter, a young guy in a younger Tom Hanks style, came over to my mother, "I need you to come out here with me, please."
M knew, but SIL and niece did not. Mom looked concerned, later said she'd wondered if she'd gotten a call. He asked her again before everyone moved. SIL and niece sat back down. "Now this young woman here is celebrating her 21st birthday.... " (Mom gets flustered and laughs; he puts his arm around her perhaps to keep her there? just gently?). "And she saw these other girls dance, and says she can dance her booty with the best of them." Or, something like that.
He then proceeds to dance a couple swing dance moves with my mother, who ends up shaking her butt just briefly, along with going along and dancing. Then the obligatory singing, their restaurant style.
She actually ENJOYED it! It is NOT something I'd have requested if I had known, cuz that really could have gone badly. But, she liked it! "Priceless" as they say:)

Yep, we also received the "Charmin Experience," a super nice (sinks in each room, set up like changing room stalls but full-floor doors, checked after every use via "ushers,") multi-floor restroom facility with cheerleaders and fun videos, and the big stuffed bear pulling a sleigh set up for photos. Not what we went for, but lol, what's New York City if not a place to really do it up? For, apparently, everything?

Rockette's were great, of course. The live nativity act the end is neat. SO many took photos of various scenes within that final act, as if lots of starlights flashing quickly and brightly. Mom was tisk-tisking, cuz all were asked to not take photos. I pretended it was them being so overwhelmed at taking in that scene:) YAWN.
M had wanted to spend Friday night at Mom's, but we discussed her homework, and she instead finished up some of it, working on some other aspects. SO SO SO much is due next week, it's ridiculous really. A few final projects, plus regular work. She brought homework on the tour bus, getting her math done (um, that was extra credit? Okay, honey, I'm proud of you for doing that, glad you took my advice and asked Mr. L yet again to explain this type of problem for you.)

At one point, I was outside with the bus driver trying to locate two of the remaining three passengers, and getting M and niece hot soft pretzels yum I haven't tasted one that good since, well, last time I was in NYC probably. He rattled off his assortment of items to put on a pretzel. I thought a moment, told the guy, "These are for two girls not from New York; I'd better go with plain." Niece says she'd have taken mustard oh well, me, too, but I didn't know.

"Grandma says we don't have to go up there tomorrow for her birthday." PHEW. Nothing against seeing her and spending the time, we'd discussed what she wanted to do even. Just, all that homework! Neither of us wishes to miss church in Advent again:) I talked w/ M about this later, alone. Mom had suggested we may be too tired, and M has homework. She won't feel slighted now, it means SHE is likely tired. Yawn. Thanks, Mom, for our Christmas gift of this trip, and, Happy Birthday. Bubba Gump swinging and all.
Hearing the Anastasis song, waltzing Once Upon a December........ so beautiful.
Way past my bedtime:) Oh, sure wish those loud talkers on the bus had taken a break SOMETIME, oy. Really nice people, just LOUD, louder than others sitting closer to us (such as the two temporarily lost women).

For a great shot:  Christmas at Rockefeller Center

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Wreath From Home

Traffic was backed up in town this morning.   The radio announcer said it was due to the additional numbers of people driving in and out of Arlington National Cemetary.  It was also foggier than usual, warm.  It may reach the mid 60's today, yet too white and foggy to see the traffic lights until right upon them (even at 9:30 am). 

I first became aware of the Wreaths Across America program from this post:  What are You Doing on Dec.14th ?  Apparently someone decided that every marker in a National Cemetary should have a wreath fresh from Maine during December / Christmastime, and today, December 14th, is the date.   (Karen and Morrill Worcester and their inolvement are featured in this article from The Washington Post:  Maine Wreath-Maker Honors Veterans -

Uncle Billy died in the Korean "Conflict."  He was a teenager, likely hadn't spent much time outside of Maine previously.   Perhaps he went into Boston for a Red Sox game, I hope, or into New Hampshire, maybe even into Canada, but, Maine was home.  He was a POW.   Likely cause of death for William Douglas, was dysentry as a teenaged POW in Korea.  Uncle Billy, et al, pieces of my mother's life

William Douglas, aka, Uncle Billy, aka William Douglass (incorrectly how he's listed in Army records, while my mother works to correct that), is eligible for a white cross in Arlington National Cemetary.   There is a hill there, perhaps more than one, where too many white crosses, perhaps a few Star of David's, are placed.   Those are for the men and women whose remains have not been returned to their homeland.   Billy's physical remains are likely quite decomposed by now, there in Korea.  There is a family cemetary in Maine, near our beloved Douglas Mountain, with a tombstone for Billy.   Waiting.  It likely smells nicely of pine there right now.   Wherever Billy "is," I know he, too, would appreciate a wreath today, a wreath that, for him, would be from home.  So, thank you everyone who does this on his behalf, and for the others.  I bet they'll look beautiful:)

BJ, a proud vet himself, once told me that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is for Billy, and us, too.  I hadn't thought of that previously.   When the "unknown soldier" was returned from Vietnam, from that war, it lay in rest in the Capitol rotunda at first.   I came over from College Park area, where I was attending classes, to stand in line at the Capitol with others.   I got to pause, pray silently for a moment in the solemn marble building, and give a rose.   Actually, I imagine it a rose but not positive it wasn't another flower instead.  In honor of Cousin Danny, see, who'd send photos of himself, smiling, in uniform, standing in a rice paddy, to our grandmother.  I'd been a kid then, not fully comprehending what was going on, that Danny was fighting a war there in Vietnam.   She'd worry so, that his letters to her were full of more positive things.  He came home:)  

My father was stationed in Alaska, and, obviously to any reader, still survives and was not overseas or in danger.  He enjoyed some memories made there, and he'll still look at his black and white photos in his scrapbook, pointing out snow and mountains to me.  His father, my grandfather from Ireland, was in the US military as well.   I'd seen his photo in full uniform, just hadn't connected until after the World War II memorial was complete, and visited, in D.C., that Grandad has served during that timeframe.

But, Billy?   I wish you a wreath, from Maine, from your home, today, too:)   Merry Christmas.

Update 12/15/06: Carol Guzy of The Washington Post had a front page photo of volunteer wreath-layers at Arlington National Cemetary pausing, some to salute, as a funeral procession passed along.   That shot I can't find online.   This one, however, also by Carol Guzy, speaks on its own: 

Day in Photos -